Sky Update – April 2020

In this Sky Update, we bring you all the latest tax news along with some other items that may pique your interest.

JobKeeper update

Under the JobKeeper scheme, qualifying businesses will receive a wage subsidy of $1,500 per eligible employee per fortnight conditional on guaranteeing fortnightly payments to employees of at least that amount.

The scheme is available for the fortnight ended the 12th of April through to the fortnight ending on the 27th of September.

The ATO have announced an extension of time to enrol for the first two JobKeeper fortnights from the 30th of April to the 31st of May.  Additionally, an extension of time to the 8th of May has been granted to ensure that the minimum payment of $1,500 has been made to eligible employee for the fortnights ended the 12th of April and the 26th of April.

Additionally, the Fair Work Ombudsman has released guidance on the JobKeeper changes to the Fair Work Act.  Any business intending to take part in the scheme should ensure that they are across these changes.

If you require assistance to assess the eligibility of your business to access the scheme and/or guidance on the practical steps that must be taken, please get in touch.

ATO grants blanket extensions

Due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, the ATO have granted a range of deferrals, including extending the due date for:

  • Company tax returns to the 5th of June 2020;
  • SMSF annual returns to the 30th of June 2020; and
  • Fringe Benefits Tax returns to the 25th of June 2020.

NB. Individuals and trusts already have access to the 5 June due date.

Additionally, we note the previous guidance that the due date for 2018/2019 Research & Development Tax Incentive applications has been extended to the 30th of September 2020.

If you need assistance with preparation of your tax lodgements, please get in touch.  We have in place a range of options to facilitate preparation of tax returns in-line with best practice social distancing guidance.

Are you working from home?

In the current environment, more people are working from home than has ever been the case before.

In light of this, the ATO have announced a temporary short-cut method for claiming working from home tax deductions.  Under this arrangement, a claim of $0.80 per hour is available from the 1st of March 2020 for home office running expenses.

If you would like guidance on the options available to claim working from home tax deductions, please contact us.

Commercial leasing Code of Conduct

Following a meeting of the National Cabinet, a Code of Conduct has been announced to guide how commercial tenants and landlords must negotiate amendments to leasing arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Code, it is intended that landlords will agree temporary arrangements with affected tenants to support business continuity and to facilitate a resumption of normal trading activities at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The central leasing principals included in the Code are that:

  • Landlords must not terminate leases due to non-payment of rent; and
  • Tenants must remain committed to the terms of their lease; and
  • Landlords must offer tenants proportionate reductions of rent in the form of waivers and deferrals based on the tenants reduction in trade.

Where landlords and tenants are not able to reach agreement, the matter will be able to be referred to the applicable state/territory’s dispute resolution process for binding mediation.

The Code is to be given effect to through state/territory legislation and/or regulations.  Many states have already taken steps to give effect to the Code.  For example Victoria has passed legislation to facilitate The Governor in Council making regulations to give effect to the Code.  Similarly, New South Wales have made the Retail & Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2020.

Tenants and/or landlords needing guidance on the Code should get in touch.

Our office arrangements

Further to our previous guidance, we note that our offices remain closed to the general public.  In maintaining this arrangement, we are seeking to do our bit to slow the spread of COVID-19 for the benefit of our clients, staff and the wider community.

Whilst our offices are closed, we remain fully operational and are 100% committed to helping our clients through this national emergency.  In this respect, we have in place a range of options to ensure that we can continue to have meetings and appointments to assist our clients with all of their needs.

Over the course of April we have reached out to a significant number of clients and will continue to reach out and try and assist in any way that we can.  If you have not yet heard from us, or need urgent assistance, please get in touch at info@skyacc.com.au or 1300 328 855.

Sky Accountants Ballarat

Phone: 1300 328 855
Office Address: 902 Howitt Street, Wendouree, Victoria 3355, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 2234, Bakery Hill, Victoria 3354

Sky Accountants Sunbury & Gisborne

Phone: 03 97444522
Sunbury Office Address: Suite 13, 33-35 Macedon Street, Sunbury, Victoria 3429, Australia
Gisborne Office Address: 45 Hamilton Street, Gisborne, Victoria 3437, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 270 Gisborne Victoria 3437

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